Motor Development

By: Vivian Chan

There are two type of motor skills: fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills is related to the development of small muscles while gross motor skills involves the larger muscles.

At the stage of prereaching, infants may try to reach for an object but are unable to close their hand around it because they close their hands too soon. They start to control their movements around 3 months of age and they gradually improve.

At 6 months, they start putting toys and objects into their mouths, reaches for and grasps objects, shakes objects, and move toys from one hand to the other. At 12 months, infants are able to grasp small objects with their thumb and index finger, bang objects together  and put small objects into a cup or container. They are capable of eating with a spoon and drinking from a cup. Banging, shaking, squeezing and throwing are ways they can learn to gain control with their hands.

 

During an infant’s first month of life, their movements are propelled by the rhythmic pushing movements of their toes and knees. 5 or 6 months later, this movement will disappear and they will start crawling on their hands and knees and by 8 to 9 months of age, they can crawl on flat surfaces. As infants become a year old, many are able to stand up and walk with assistance.

 

 

 

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Reflexes & Piaget’s Theory

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By: Vivian Chan

Reflexes expected from child:

  • Eyeblink reflex – protects eye from overly bright lights and foreign objects that might damage it. 
  • Sucking reflex – baby sucks when something is put into its mouth
  • Moro reflex – making grasping motion with their arms in response to a loud noise or when suddenly experiencing a feeling of being dropped 
  • Babinski – baby’s toes are fanned out with foot is stroked
  • Crawling – arms and legs move while pressure is applied to the soles of the feet
  • Grasping – fingers closing around an object
  • Rooting – head turns w/ mouth open when touched on the cheek
  • Stepping – making rhythmic leg movements when held up on a flat surface

Piaget’s Theory

Piaget’s Theory explains an infant’s transition from reflexive behavior to their actions. Piaget believed that infants gain knowledge through interaction between the individual and environment. Skills that babies were born with such as: sucking, grasping, listening and looking, are used to learn more about their environment.

During the first substage (0-1.5 months), the baby uses reflexes such as looking and sucking to learn about its environment. From 1.5-4 months, babies find repetition of actions pleasurable to themselves. For example, they may suck their fingers and they would do it repetitively. By the time they reach 4-8 months, they will begin picking up toys and putting them into their mouths. At 8-12 months, babies start learning how to imitate the behavior of others and begin to recognize objects and what the object does. For example, they will act as happy as adults are when they play with them. From 12-18 months, babies make different noises to get the attention of their parents and caregivers. And lastly, when babies reach 18-24 months, they start to understand symbols an use them for problem solving.

Home Births vs. Hospital Births

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By: Karen Quijada

Confused about whether having a home birth or hospital birth? There are many sides to how childbirth should be practiced but every woman should be able to choose how they experience delivery, after-all its you experiencing the pain. But most importantly women should take into consideration the health and safety risks that comes with having either a home birth or a hospital birth. There are pros and cons to both sides, it just depends on what experience a woman wants. Giving birth is roughly the same throughout the world but the way its encountered varies through cultures leading to a wide variety of childbirth practices. Let’s start by discussing the 3 stages of labor.        
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FIRST STAGE: Labor starts with contractions causing the cervix to dilate. Once the opening of the uterus into the vagina fully dilates, the bones between mother’s pelvis become more flexible. Length of this stage varies between women, length can last anywhere from less than an hour to several days.
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SECOND STAGE: Baby is pushed headfirst through dilated cervix into the vagina. Contractions now are no more than a minute apart and last about a minute, the powerful contractions cause the mother to push the baby out.  

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THIRD STAGE: Once the baby is out, the placenta begins to separate from the uterine wall and is delivered minutes after the birth.

Now that you know the stages of labor, let’s see some of the pros and cons between home births and hospital births:

Home Birth Pros:

  • delivery environment is controlled by the one giving birth
  • able to walk around
  • delivery occurs naturally, no time constraint
  • able to eat and drink
  • allowed to have as many people throughout delivery
  • midwives provide emotional support during pregnancy, labor, and delivery process

Home Birth Cons:

  • waiting for emergency medical services for a newborn in distress can make a difference
  • most health insurances will not cover services outside of hospital settings
  • life threatening problems can occur

Hospital Birth Pros:

  • better equipped to deal with complications
  • provide drugs to relieve pain of childbirth
  • health insurance covers hospital births

Hospital Birth Cons:

  • controlled environment by hospital staff
  • confined to a bed
  • delivery process is sped up rather than occurring naturally
  • limited to eating and intake of liquids
  • limited to 2 or 3 people in delivery room
  • medications cause babies to be less attentive and more irritable, and are weaker days after being born

So as you can see it there are pros and cons to both home births and hospital births. Of course if you are diabetic, have high blood pressure, previously had a C-section, or have develop pregnancy complications than home birth is not recommended for you. But if you don’t have any of these complications, do some more research about home births and hospital births and ask your doctor about what might benefit you better. Keep in mind that the goal is to deliver a healthy baby!

“It fit you last week! How come it’s so much smaller now?”: Keeping Up With Your Baby’s Rapid Growth

By: Therese Brion

The first three months of your baby’s life can be characterized with their astonishing rate of physical growth. In these three months your baby will gain about 6 pounds and grow more than 4 inches in length! Making sure to go to your baby’s 3 monthly checkups is vital in order for you to get a look at growth charts that map out normal development variations and averages. If your baby isn’t up to these specific figures on these charts, don’t worry. Your pediatrician or health care provider will help you understand the growth charts and try to find solutions to any deviations your baby might run into during their normal development. Take a look at this example of a growth chart that might come up at your baby’s early checkups:

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By now you may have noticed how fast babies go through clothes everyday. Whether it be potty accidents, spit ups, or massive food fights! Other than littles messes such as these, babies are continuously physically growing. Their clothes become tighter and shorter and your wondering how you can keep up with their rapid growth. And you’ve only used these items a handful of times and you don’t want to waste it!

Image There are two options for putting these items to good use again: save them for another child (whether it be a new sibling or relative!) or donate ’em! There’s a lot of good organizations for donation! One is called “Loved Twice”. This organization is a non-profit group that collects gently used infant clothes for social workers to give out to hospitals, clinics, and shelters for disadvantaged babies.

Interesting fact: Research shows that babies who are breast-fed gain less weight (compared to formula-fed) during their first year because the milk flow is more controlled from the breast compared to  a bottle! Just another benefit from breast feeding!

Use It or Lose It!!

By: Therese Brion

If there is one important part of your baby’s development that you need to be most informed with, it should be their brain development. The brain: one of the most important parts of a baby’s growth. You are obviously unable physically see the brain’s development, which makes it all the more crucial to pay special attention to it.

A baby’s brain develops in two ways: experience-expectant and experience-dependent

Experience-Expectant

Experience-Dependent

The brain expects the universe to throw different types of experiences at it and the brain develops in response to these   experiences.

  • For example, the brain’s response to the difference light & dark, different smells, or tastes.
           The brain develops through unique experiences.

  • For example, the brain of a sketch artist and a guitar player will differ from one another because they have used and experienced stimuli in different areas of their brains.

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What exactly does “use it or lose it” mean?

Your baby’s brain goes through so much growth at the beginning of their lives. There are different parts (made of nerves & cells) of the brain which grow at specific times and rates, these parts are all responsible for specific tasks. If these parts aren’t simulated correctly either through experience-expectant development or experience-dependent development, then these parts won’t work properly and eventually disappear.

How can you stop your baby from “losing” it?

Simple! Keep playing with your baby! Keep talking to your baby! Basically, keep loving your baby! Placing unfamiliar toys, playing quick games of Peek-A-Boo, and even reading to your baby are great ways of stimulating your baby’s brain and creating different experiences for their brains to respond to. How your baby feels and what your baby sees, hears, and tastes all have a great affect on their development. Keeping the environment of your baby as stimulating and caring as possible will be very beneficial in successful brain development!